If it’s not worth doing, it’s not worth doing well

With the Greenwich High Music Hall now estimated to cost $42 million and still climbing, people are rethinking the project. There’s talk of eliminating the orchestra pit, reusing an older portion, and on and on. The end result, it seems to me, will be a dog’s breakfast of old, new and make-do, all so the proponents can claim they built something. That’s a dumb reason to spend what’s probably going to be fifty-million bucks, if we’ll end up with the same inadequacies we’ve been muddling along with these past decades. I say, punt.


Filed under MISA

20 responses to “If it’s not worth doing, it’s not worth doing well

  1. get rid of the ORCHESTRA PIT ???? how about a couple of “ choose your gender” bathrooms instead? snark.

  2. hmmm

    waste of money, idiotic feel good project…shame on everyone

  3. Old Coot

    For a town with so much money and so many people who like to prove said wealth, why on earth haven’t a handful of people come forth for naming rights? The Walter and Monica Noel Music Hall sounds good to me. Why foist this joint on taxpayers???

    • tap the pensioners

      i think the town retired employees are a better source of funding, pension for ridberg is 250 k a year.

    • hmmm

      you know why no one has come forward because of the waste that exists…

      404 million dollar budget 88.6% for pensions, benefits and salaries…as told to us by the BET yet they approve of the project…go figure..sounds like they are talking out of both sides of their mouths. I could be wrong so please correct me if I am.


      • Anonymous

        “”I support the rigorous oversight that the BET has given to this project,” said Democrat Mary Lee Kiernan, the board’s clerk.”


        • hmmm

          exaclty, the only oversight that has been given is if there was enough money being spent foolishly and that is for sure happening…

  4. why

    pass on building, build shuttle to broadway instead

  5. Anonymous

    The site must be cleaned up responsibly. Children practice on those fields, and neighbors live next to it. Groundwater travels… If it takes $50 million to do it, then we need to spend that money.Some proposals are quoting $100 million plus! Add in to the mix the renovation to Witherell, underfunded pension obligations and rising healthcare costs for our town employees/retirees, and you’ve got a project that we cannot afford. The site remediation is a game changer…sorry. I suggest that the RTM deny the request for additional funding, and take stock of the obligations that we already have to cover. Ask the Board of Ed. to price out refurbishing the current auditorium.

  6. Anonymous

    Instead of building a performance facility at the high school, it should be built down in the park on Greenwich Ave next to Board of Ed as a venue the entire Town could use, not just for the high schoolers to use a few hours per week

  7. Anonymous

    Where is the outrage by the parents who are anxious to see a BOE laser focused on student achievement, college completion, career readiness and the like? Instead, here we go again with attention and scarce funds redirected to the money pitt auditorium located on a former toxic waste dump site.

    • You may find it hard to believe that the solution to improving the mediocre quality of our schools lies in a $50 million music hall but that’s because you’re a philistine, you philistine.

    • hmmm

      bravo anon!

      where are these parents…instead they are interested in getting the new auditorium in the hopes that it will make their kids better at something sort of like getting a new pair of golf clubs because you think you will play better golf….but if you suck at golf with titleist clubs you will still suck with taylor made clubs…

      • Mozart was on his way by six – if Little Lord Fauntleroy was destined for genius as a violinist he’d have been recognized by ten and would be in a music specialist high school long before he stepped out of his limousine on Hillside Road. I think high school parents are aware of this, and instead view their kids’ participation in a 10th-grade revival of The Music Man as a resume padder, something to improve the littl’ darlin’s chances of avoiding matriculating at U Conn. As such, the band, orchestra and set design activities are on a par with volunteering for Operation Safe Rides or spending a week in Belfast, Maine pretending to be useful with Habitat for Humanity. $50,000,000 to provide that extra bit of apple polish seems a bit rich.

  8. AJ

    I prefer the saying “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly”, meaning that if something is worth doing, it’s worth spending your time on even if you’re not very good at it until you do get good at it. Why do crazy people and assholes always get their way? Why do the most deranged amongst us always become leaders, and end up telling the rest of us how it’s going to be?

  9. Greenwich Gal

    Look – The MISA project is about staving off the brain drain of wealthy kids to private and boarding schools. You could potentially keep some kids at GHS if you give some bells and whistles. Take a look at Staples High School. Take a look at Darien. State of the art facility. All the best in High Tech. Great fields and gymnasiums, auditoriums, labs. Makes GHS look like some piss poor Alabama school. Actually if you look around at ALL of our schools – they are in shambles. It is actually shameful to think that this is how our town maintains our facilities. The MISA project is a band aid on a huge gaping wound.
    The problem with this town is that too many people are working the system and doing as little as possible because they are union protected and are waiting for the ol’ pension. Layers and layers of incompetence. And that incompetence is paid handsomely. Occassionally there is a shining star – but you can’t see the star through the muck.

  10. Anonymous

    Anybody notice Island Surveyor’s (aka Michael Finkbeiner’s) letter to the editor of Greenwich Time that the only option for Greenwich taxpayers to avoid a financial disaster “is abandonment of the site and encapsulation of the contamination, re-establishing Ten Acre Swamp as open space (its actual place name as mapped in the town’s Plan of Conservation and Development). The off-setting expense to abandonment would be conversion of other open space to a new high school site, about the same order of magnitude in cost.”

    A whole new high school on a different site? Mind boggling, but this is a very smart guy.

    Here’s his letter:

    To the editor:

    Your editorial, “Major choice to be made at Greenwich High School” on March 1, as well as your news coverage of MISA since the illegal executive session of the Board of Education, Board of Estimate and Taxation and Board of Selectmen (followed strangely by a “press conference”), give the mistaken view that there is an actual choice in remediation. This is false.

    The town and its hired contractors put highly toxic concentrations of PCBs into the wetlands that are now used as athletic fields and parking lots. Town taxpayers are now on the hook to pay for the full removal and remediation of all 42 acres and any neighboring properties affected. The only option is abandonment of the site and encapsulation of the contamination, re-establishing Ten Acre Swamp as open space (its actual place name as mapped in the town’s Plan of Conservation and Development). The off-setting expense to abandonment would be conversion of other open space to a new high school site, about the same order of magnitude in cost.

    The consultant’s report giving a range of costs did not establish a menu of choices for the taxpayers in the long run to remediate down to one part PCBs per million. It only gave an idea of how fast the town would dig itself into a wet hole from which it could not escape, at least financially. Test reports released last April found 11 hotspots with more than 500 parts per million and 18 others with more than 50 ppm. That’s a lot of PCBs. Unlike the lighter Hudson River PCBs, which had to be transported to Texas, these Aroclor 1260 molecules are the heavier, more dangerous type found in pre-1930s electrical power systems.

    Speaking as a GHS parent and grandparent, the next shovel in the ground for MISA will initiate a cascading escalation of costs for taxpayers that cannot be turned off. But we do have the option to stop before this madness starts, and weigh the only alternative — a new Greenwich High School.

    Michael W. Finkbeiner


    The writer is an environmental and land-use consultant.

  11. Greenwich Gal

    I think that is a very interesting solution. But WHERE would the new high school go? Stanwich School struggled to find appropriate land – a much smaller school.
    Also – I am most disheartened by the closed door nature of this project and also the fact that the town has yet to test adjoining properties.